A footpad is a robber or thief specializing in pedestrian victims. The term was used widely throughout the 16th century until the 19th century, but gradually fell out of common use. A footpad was considered a low criminal, as opposed to the riding highwaymen, who in certain cases might gain fame as well as notoriety.
According to The American Heritage Dictionary
, the origin of the term is not entirely clear, but it may be a concatenation of foot
and the word pad
, related to path.
This would indicate a robber who is on foot, as opposed to his equestrian counterpart.
The term has now fallen out of use and has, more or less, been replaced by the term "mugger."
In popular culture
Footpad is also the name of one of the Thieves' Guild ranks in the computer games Oblivion
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